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What Happens At Car Auction?

Tuesday, July 20th, 2021
Woman with white painted fingernails giving car keys for white vehicle

Are you looking for a new vehicle and want to try your hand at a car auction? There are a few things you should understand that nobody tells you. Car auctions can be a lot of fun but you need to research how they work. We have a few tips that will help you understand the whole process of buying your next vehicle at an auction.  

Do initial research

The process of buying a vehicle can be intimidating and stressful, no matter how or who you buy from. First, always pay attention to the fine print when making your purchase. If you want to buy from a car auction, the unspoken rules are different from a dealership and the pace is much faster. Just like in a poker game, if you don’t do your research and know the game, you can lose big money.  

Like any auction, it’s every man for himself. These auctions are fast-paced and can be brutal if you don’t know what you are doing. Always try to get a vehicle history and talk to people who have the same car. They may be able to tell you about mechanical problems that are common to the make and model.

Get to the auction early

The saying “the early bird gets the worm” is true in most auctions.  If you get to the auction early you can scope out the cars, check prices and values online, and get a vehicle report. You will find it much easier to concentrate with fewer people and noise around. You might also want to check out the auction website to see what cars will be auctioned off.  

Ask a lot of questions, observe, and look at the vehicle you are interested in. Whatever you do, do not make a false bid. Make sure you have the money in your pocket or a secured loan first. You could pay fines, lose your deposit, and in some cases, face prosecution if you can’t pay for an auction win. You should also check the engine, listen for noises, and look for rusting and interior tears if possible. 

Watch out for bad deals

Occasionally, sellers just want to get rid of a lemon car. Auction houses will sometimes sell these as-is. As a buyer, it will be your job to know what to look out for. If you know how to part these types of cars out, that’s fine. But, this is not something the typical person will be able to do. 

 Be aware of used cars coming into the auction from a dealership. These vehicles might send up red flags. The dealership has the option to sell these to individuals or other dealerships. An auction can be a last resort for some dealerships. Why? Well, it all starts at the car lot. Sometimes, a customer will purchase a fairly new used car that will turn out to be a lemon. They then will trade that car in, and the dealership gets left with the lemon. So, that’s when these cars end up at an auction. 

Types of car auctions to consider

You might want to consider bank repossessed vehicles if you see them at a car auction. In most cases, many of these are good-quality cars that you can get at an exceptional price and are sold to recoup any losses on an unpaid loan.  

Government auctions are another good place to look for your next vehicle.  Most of them are taxies, police cars, and used SUVs. They are reliable and in most cases- in good condition. Some are not at a bargain price but are dependable enough to be used for years.

Know shipping information

If you live out of state from where the auction is being held, be aware of shipping costs. Always contact the company you want to transport your car to and get an exact cost. To avoid shipping, make sure your next purchase has tags and license plates and is ready to put on the road. 

Understand costs

Don’t bid on what you can’t afford. Newcomers to auctions fail to realize additional costs such as premiums and deposits. All expenses are due on-site. After you win the bid, you will have to pay those additional costs. Always keep your bidding well within your budget and consider all costs and transportation of your vehicle if you buy out of state.

Before making your bid, check to see if the vehicle you want is eligible for an extended warranty because some do not qualify. Some cars with a good record might not need this, but take into consideration future wear and tear, as well as increased mileage. 

When going to a car auction for the first time, always remember to do a lot of research, be early, bring only what you can afford, inspect the car with your own eyes, and check out the car’s value. Now that you know what to look for, you should check out High Plains Auctioneers Upcoming Auctions! We hold auctions with unique and interesting items. Call us today at 806-244-6776 to find out more!